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After months of avoiding vaccine problems, companies begin mandates

Some of the country’s largest employers have been reluctant to tackle the question of whether Covid-19 vaccination should be mandatory for workers for months, but have recently taken action as infectious diseases have surged again. I have been forced to do so.

on Tuesday, Tyson Foods He said that 120,000 workers in offices, slaughterhouses and chicken factories nationwide would need to be vaccinated by November 1 as an “employment condition.”When MicrosoftEmploying about 100,000 people in the United States, said all employees, vendors and guests need vaccination certification to access the office.

last week, Google Disney has announced obligations for all salary and union hourly workers working in the field, while employees returning to the company’s office need to be vaccinated.

Other companies, including Walmart, the largest private employer in the United States, and Lyft and Uber, ride-sharing services, have taken a less powerful approach, requiring white-collar workers to have vaccines, but what? It does not require millions of front-line workers. These moves basically set the gap between employees working in the office and those who interact directly with the general public.

“We didn’t downplay this decision,” Tyson CEO Donnie King wrote in a memo to employees who announced the company’s full mission. “We spent months recommending vaccination to our team members — today, less than half of our team members are vaccinated.”

However, most other large companies have so far evaded their obligations altogether. Amazon, the country’s second-largest private employer, hasn’t announced plans to demand an exemption, and neither Apple nor many major banks.

“We are working hard to vaccinate our employees, and everyone else is vaccinated,” Amazon Chief Financial Officer Brian Orsavsky called last week with reporters. I hope that I will be vaccinated and this will disappear. “

However, the coronavirus shows no signs of disappearing. New waves of infection are forcing businesses to take action as vaccination rates are stagnant in many parts of the country and Delta variants are skyrocketing.

“We would like to thank Wal-Mart, Google, Netflix, Disney and Tyson Foods for their recent actions requiring vaccination,” Biden said at a news conference on Tuesday. “Look, I know this isn’t easy, but I have their backs.”

“Others refused to step up,” he said. “I think it’s a shame.”

“The rise of the Delta variant is in the hearts of people,” said Douglas Brayley, an employment lawyer at Ropes & Gray.

“I think they’re looking around and seeing more employers starting to mandate, so I’m wondering if they should rethink too,” he said.

However, vaccine hesitation remains a persistent and emotionally appealing issue in many American workplaces.

Many companies that are already facing staff shortages are worried that requesting a vaccine may give employees another reason to quit. At the same time, companies are looking for new ways to encourage workers to vaccinate after efforts such as providing cash bonuses have not increased immunization rates quickly enough.

Much of the remaining hesitation about vaccines appears to be rooted in a complex combination of political, cultural beliefs, and false information that cannot be overcome with cash payments or gift certificates from employers.

“The reason many workers refuse vaccines is for political and ideological reasons,” said retail and wholesale representatives of workers in Midwestern food manufacturing plants, which have relatively high vaccination rates.・ Stuart Aperbaum, President of the Department Stores Association, said. low. “Where we have the most Trump supporters, we see a lot of vaccine resistance.”

However, many unions are wary of delegation for a variety of reasons. They say that many of their members are worried about potential health side effects or bristles in the employer’s thinking that interferes with what they consider to be a personal health decision.

Mark Perone, chairman of the United Food and Commercial Workers’ Union and representing 1.3 million employees in grocery chains such as Kroger and large meat packaging factories, said until the Food and Drug Administration fully approved the vaccine. Said he did not support the employer’s obligations. This is managed in an emergency. “You can’t just say’accept an order or hit the door’,” Perone said in an interview Monday.

After Tyson announced the vaccine obligations on Tuesday, Mr. Perone said the union “to discuss the obligations of this vaccine, protect the rights of these workers and ensure that this policy is implemented fairly. , I will meet Tyson in the next few weeks. “

Asked if he would support the vaccine obligation, Aperbaum said, “I’m not ready to answer that yet.” But he said companies need to negotiate the terms of such requirements closely with workers and also need to expand their benefits, such as paid sick leave, during the pandemic.

The union of Perone and Aperbaum together represents more than 30,000 workers at the Tyson plant, which complicates the mission planning of meat companies.

Tyson and others in the meat packaging industry have been criticized in the early stages of the pandemic for not doing enough to protect workers. Some meat plants have become hotspots for the virus. Currently, the leadership team must be vaccinated by September 24th and the remaining office workers by October 1st. There are more frontline team members than salaried workers who still need to be vaccinated, “said a Tyson spokesman.

Throughout the pandemic, companies have been cautious about implementing public health measures while trying to avoid harm to their businesses.

Last year, when a major retailer began asking customers to wear masks, they quietly told employees not to enforce the rules if they were sticking to not wearing masks.

Companies like Wal-Mart have tried a similarly tentative approach to vaccine requirements.

Wal-Mart announced last week that it requires about 17,000 workers at Arkansaw headquarters to be vaccinated, but not stores and distribution center workers, who make up the majority of 1.6 million U.S. employees. Did.

In a statement, retailers said they would send a message that limited missions should vaccinate all workers.

“We are asking leaders with already high vaccination rates to clarify their example,” the company said. “We hope it will affect more of our frontline companions to be vaccinated.”

With Uber Lyft Last week, both told company employees that they needed to show evidence of vaccination before returning to the company office.

“Requesting vaccinations is the most effective way to create a safe environment and reassure team members when they return to the office,” said Ashley Adams, a spokeswoman for Lyft.

However, these obligations did not extend to workers contracted by businesses to get millions of customers in and out of their destinations. Drivers are encouraged to be vaccinated, but neither Lyft nor Uber plans to request them.

Public health experts say that limited missions create a gap between high-wage and low-wage workers in the country without promoting the public health goal of significantly increasing immunization rates. Warn that it may help to strengthen.

They also say it’s naive to think that workers who resist the vaccine for ideological reasons will suddenly change their minds after seeing a high-paying executive in the company receive a shot.

Dr. Kirsten Bibbins-Domingo, Deputy Dean of Population Health and Health Inequalities at the University of California, San Francisco, said the company’s directive “in the end, we really want to be able to reach the widest range.”.. “If I don’t, I think others will only be more skeptical of these kinds of obligations.”

If a company legally requires a vaccine, the company may be in a solid position. last year, Equal Employment Opportunity Committee Employers may demand exemptions, but companies that do so may still face proceedings, he said.

George W. Ingham, a partner at law firm Hogan Lovells, said the mandates could have to make difficult decisions.

“They will have to dismiss high and low performers who refuse the vaccine,” he said. “They need to be consistent.” Reasons for exempting employees include religious beliefs and disabilities, but the process of classifying them individually promises to be difficult. I am.

Businesses may also have to face backlash from state governments. According to the National Assembly of Parliament, 10 states have passed legislation that limits the ability of students, employees, or the general public to request vaccines.

Disney is one of the few large companies to pursue a wide range of vaccine obligations for their employees, even in the face of backlash from some employees.

In addition to requiring non-union workers in the field to be vaccinated, Disney said all new employees (unions and non-unions) must be fully vaccinated before starting work. Non-union hourly workers include theme park guest relations staff, park photographers, executive assistants, and seasonal theme park employees.

It was farthest that Disney could go without approval from the 12 unions that represent the majority of its employees. For example, Walt Disney World in Florida has more than 65,000 workers. About 38,000 are union members.

Disney is currently seeking union approval for its mission of tens of thousands of workers at Disneyland Resort in Anaheim, both in Florida and California. Most Disney union leaders appear to be in favor of the mission as long as adaptations can be taken for those who refuse the vaccine for medical, religious, or other acceptable reasons.

Eric Clinton, president of Unite Here Local 362, which represents Disney World’s approximately 8,000 attraction workers and custodians, said in a telephone interview, “Vaccination is safe, effective, and workers, whether at the forefront or not. It’s the best line of defense to protect. “

Clinton refused to comment on the backlash from membership, but another Disney World union leader spoke on anonymous terms so that he could speak openly, and “a significant number” of his members. Vaccinated because of personal choices and fear of vaccines that said he was armed beyond Disney’s obligations.

“The company probably did the math and decided that some people would unfortunately quit rather than protect themselves,” he said.

Ran Nguyen Contribution report.

After months of avoiding vaccine problems, companies begin mandates

Source link After months of avoiding vaccine problems, companies begin mandates

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